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Nurses have voted ‘overwhelmingly’ to accept the NHS pay deal

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NHS pay deal

The NHS pay deal has been accepted by the trade unions representing healthcare workers.

Since March, 14 unions have been asking NHS staff whether they want to accept or reject the proposed pay rise, which would mean a 6.5% increase over three years for over a million hospital cleaners, nurses, security guards, physiotherapists, emergency call handlers, paramedics, midwives, radiographers and other NHS staff across England.

With the results of these consultation exercises and online ballots now in, unions announced at a meeting today that health workers have voted overwhelmingly to accept the deal.

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The Results: 77% of Royal College of Nursing members (39,863 members* took part in the consultation) and an astounding 84% of Unison members (83,500 members, around 30% of members eligible to vote, took part in the consultation) backed the deal. The GMB is the only healthcare union to reject the pay deal.

What happens now? The deal will be formally approved at a meeting of NHS trade unions on 27 June. NHS staff should now get the money in their July pay packets, backdated from April. You take a look at the new agenda for change pay structure here.

The devolved healthcare system in Scotland and Wales can now start to establish a deal based on this information.

‘The issue of NHS pay has been put to bed’.

Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “After today, the Government cannot assume that the thorny issue of NHS pay has been put to bed. This deal marks a step in the right direction but the bigger leap to truly fair pay still needs to be taken. It does give a genuine pay rise to over one million people from next month and that cannot be underestimated in challenging economic times.

“Ministers knew that the public were behind our members when they turned up the heat last year. Today’s deal would not have been reached without the campaigning efforts of tens of thousands of nursing staff last year and we thank the public for the support shown.

“But I want to reassure those members who did not support this particular deal that their views are respected and their arguments have been heard by the College. They can be assured that this is by no means the end of our campaigning for fair pay and their contribution to that cause will remain invaluable.

“We will turn our campaigning fire on getting this pay rise extended to nursing staff in other parts of the NHS and social care too. The care sector already suffers from high staff turnover and so pay must be boosted there too if we are to prevent a nursing exodus for better paid jobs in hospitals and the community.”  

It won’t solve NHS problems overnight.

Sara Gorton, Lead Health Union Negotiator and UNISON head of health, said: “The agreement won’t solve all the NHS’ problems overnight, but it will go a long way towards easing the financial strain suffered by health staff and their families over many years.

“The lifting of the damaging one per cent cap on pay will come as a huge relief for all the employers who’ve struggled for so long to attract new recruits and hold onto experienced staff.

“But this three year pay deal must not be a one off. Health workers will want to know that ministers are committed to decent wage rises across the NHS for the long term, and that this isn’t just a quick fix.

“Most importantly the extra funding means the pay rise won’t be at the expense of services or patient care. Now the government has begun to put right the damage inflicted by its mean-spirited pay policies, staff will be hoping ministers announce an injection of cash for NHS services in time for its 70th birthday next month.”


*We contacted the RCN to clarify the percent of eligible nurses who took part in the consultation but they opted not to release this information.

Workforce

Nursing vacancies hit record high leaving patient care at risk

It can be “dangerous” when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care.

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Patient Falls Risk with IV

There are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone.

NHS figures show that there are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The College says a global shortage of nurses alongside the removal of the nursing bursary has compounded this figure which now sees 12% of posts through the NHS in England without a full-time Registered Nurse.

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Figures from the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) show a 29% overall decline in applications to undergraduate courses since 2015, when the bursary was cut by the Government.

In a report released today titled ‘Standing up for patient and public safety’, the Royal College of Nursing outlines the evidence of the need for a new law that allocates specific legal responsibilities for workforce planning and supply.

A new law is needed.

The report states that in order to address the record number of vacancies, and the gap between the numbers of health and care staff needed to deliver patient care vs. how many are in the system.

Figures included in the report reveal that the number of nursing staff has consistently failed to keep up with the dramatic rise in demand for services and the number of emergency admissions.

The report finally makes a further call for legal clarity on the roles, responsibilities, as well as accountabilities, for workforce planning and supply.

In September, after pressure from RCN members, NHS England and NHS Improvement asked the Government for clarity over who is accountable for the nursing workforce.

‘Nurses are working harder than ever’.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: “Nurses are working harder than ever to deliver safe patient care but are being held back by a system that is legally lacking teeth. Despite the public, patients and nurses all agreeing that clarity is needed on responsibilities for delivering enough nurses, we have yet to see any government pledge anything of the like, and as a result are staring down the barrel at a record 43k empty nursing posts.

“We know how dangerous it can be when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care, but at present, almost all accountability rests with the frontline nurse working on the understaffed ward, rather than those responsible for the system they work in.

“We believe the time has come for change and that patient care was future-proofed by law, and that from the government down, decision makers are held to account.

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NHS calls for clarity on who is accountable for the nursing workforce

Figures suggest there are around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies throughout the NHS in England.

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Working nurses in the CCU

Healthcare leaders are calling for legislation to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have called on the Government to clarify who is accountable for the nursing workforce and the chronic problems it’s currently facing.

Following ongoing pressure from nursing unions, the two organisations met today and recommend that the government should “revisit with partners whether national responsibilities and duties in relation to workforce functions are sufficiently clear.”

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With around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in the NHS in England and thousands more throughout social care, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) believes the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care should be legally accountable for the workforce.

Along with other health care leaders, Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN, written to the Government calling for the legislation proposed by NHS England and NHS Improvement to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

Staff shortages have reached ‘alarming levels’.

Responding to the news, Dame Donna Kinnair said: “We are pleased that NHS England and NHS Improvement has recognised the concerns of RCN members and the public and has stated that the issue of accountability for workforce planning and supply remains an area that needs be resolved.”

“In the week after we have launched a major public facing campaign calling for investment in the nursing workforce as well as for accountability to be clarified in the law, yet again, the case is made for this to be taken seriously.

“We are clear that government is well placed to determine how accountability can be clarified in law.

Adding; “Staff shortages have reached alarming levels with at least 40,000 vacant registered nurse posts in the NHS in England alone with thousands more vacancies in public health and social care.

“We now hope government will listen to this message, as well as the voices of the thousands of members that responded to the NHS England engagement process, and bring forward this legislation, taking the opportunity to include accountability in government and throughout the health and care system, for workforce planning and supply.”

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